A TECHNIQUE DRIVEN Blog dedicated to mastery of surface design techniques. First we dye, overdye, paint, stitch, resist, tie, fold, silk screen, stamp, thermofax, batik, bejewel, stretch, shrink, sprinkle, Smooch, fuse, slice, dice, AND then we set it on fire using a variety of heat tools.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Preparing to Screen Print--Quilter Beth

I decided today was the day to work with my screens. I went to my studio to set up some tables and this happened to me...

Let me explain...I had to get into my closet downstairs to get my extra table, and I got a little sidetracked. I found all kinds of clothes I needed to get rid of, to wash and possibly wear, to take to St. Vincent's, or to cut up and use in my quilts. Does that ever happen to you?

I FINALLY got focused on screen printing. I have three screens from previous classes I've taken. I wanted to just "get my feet wet" today, so I got out some old muslin fabric and decided to do a couple of prints. Then I remembered I needed to tape two of my frames. I took pictures as I did it and followed Jane Dunnewold's instructions on how to do it efficiently. I thought I'd share it with you.

First you should know that you need to use duct tape to tape it. Jane says she has had good luck using Gorilla brand duct tape, because you don't have to let it cure for 24 hours. Regular duct tape needs to cure for 24 hours or the water will make it release from the frame. (I didn't remember this, so I only had one screen to work with today.) Anyway, this is how you do the taping.

Step 1--Start with the back of the frame (flat side) facing you. Line the tape up with the inside edge of the frame. Tape all four sides.

Step 2--Now, turn the frame over and run the tape from side to side. Continue for all four sides.

Step 3--If any wood is left exposed on the sides, it is a good idea to cover these at this point. Jane says, "It is good housekeeping."  I have a big frame, so mine had a lot of exposed wood that needed to be taped.
Step 4--Cut the tape to the measurement of the inside. I give myself about an inch onto the mesh to use as a well for the paint or dye. Lay the tape on the mesh first, and work your way back to the frame.
Here, I have all four sides done. I don't know if you can tell from this picture, but I still had some wood exposed on the inside of the frame, so I had to add some more tape to cover that up. 
 Here is my finished frame. I now have it curing. Remember to let it cure for 24 hours if you use "regular" duct tape.
If this is the first time you have used this screen (or if you have just rescreened a frame), you need to wash the screen using Ajax or Comet--a grainy cleanser. Use a brush or sponge (I personally find a brush does a better job.), to clean it. I use a nail (manicure) brush. Do not use an oily-based dishwashing liquid, because the oil can interfere with the printing later. After washing, Jane says to rinse, rinse, rinse. Towel it dry and let it set for awhile to completely dry before using.

I did do a little screening, but I'll save that for another post.


  1. Oh, I can attest to the 24 hour cure time! Nothing is more frustrating than to spend 1/2 an hour taping your screen only to have the tape come loose the first time you wash it! If you let the tape cure, you will probably not have to ever (or for a very long time) re-tape your screen again.

  2. wonderful taping tute and I did get a hoot out of the PILE of "to does".

  3. Why do you have to scrub the screen before using, to remove residue on it like prewashing fabric before dyeing??

    Thanks for telling me about the 24 hour curing time for the duct tape.

  4. It removes any sizing (or anythng else that might be on the fabric) so it won't interfere with any screening you might be doing. I think it is exactly like prewashing fabric before dyeing.


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